"Life for the Indian is one of harmony with nature and the things which surround him. The Indian tried to fit in with nature and to understand, not to conquer or rule. Life was a glorious thing, for great contentment comes with the feeling of friendship and kinship with the living things about you," Standing Bear, a Lakota, has stated. In this beautifully illustrated volume, Paul Goble shares his admiration and respect for Native Americans and their close ties to nature and animals.
Joe Medicine Crow, former Crow Tribal Historian and the oldest living member of the Crow Tribe, contributes the foreword. Goble, a world-renowned author and illustrator and a winner of the prestigious Caldecott Award, has created 70 full color drawings. These surround a wonderful smorgasbord of quotations from Native Americans who lived during the nomadic times, along with 23 traditional stories like the one about Sitting Bull in the excerpt.
Here's a sampler of the wisdom found in this book:
• "All people have a liking for some animal, tree, plant or spot of earth. If they would pay more attention to these preferences and seek what is best to make themselves worthy of that to which they are attracted, they might have dreams which would purify their lives."
Brave Buffalo, Lakota
• "If a man could prove to some bird or animal that he was a worthy friend, it would share with him precious secrets and there would be formed bonds of loyalty never to be broken; the man would protect the rights and life of the animal, and the animal would share with the man his power, skill and wisdom. In this manner was the great brotherhood of mutual helpfulness formed, adding to the reverence for life other than man."
Standing Bear, Lakota
• "A man's attitude toward the nature around him, and the animals in nature, is of special importance, because as we respect our created world, so do we show respect for the real world that we cannot see."
Thomas Yellowtail, Absaroke
• "Long ago it was the cottonwood tree who taught us how to make our tipis, for the leaf is an exact pattern of our tipis, and this we learned when some of our people were watching little children make play houses from these leaves. This too is a good example of how much grown men and women may learn from very little children, for the hearts of little children are pure, and, therefore, the Great Spirit may show to them many things which older people miss."
Black Elk, Lakota